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[Xmca-l] Re: Having an experience

Like you, Beth, I have found this xmca thread particularly exciting! There is one thing I'd like to add, which is implicit in Mike's quote from Marx:
which is that Dewey holds an experience to be both suffering and *doing* [Tatigkeit in German]. The doing means that an experience (to be an experience, and stand out from the background of experience, have significance and form a whole) entails wilfully changing the world, even if that changing is trivial, such as changing other people's attitudes to you or most trivially changing how you henceforth interact with a certain kind of situation, person or whatever. But doing is doing, it is not just going through the motions or habit. And that is why experiences in this sense are so important to the development of the personality and the world,

*Andy Blunden*
On 18/07/2015 4:40 AM, Beth Ferholt wrote:
This chain of ideas is the closest I have ever felt to what interests me
most.  It covers all the interests that brought me first to play and then
to the playworlds and then to perezhivanie.  Before I went to LCHC I was a
preschool teacher and this is a profession that I think can be described as
being, in its first part, responsible for reflecting upon the 'having an
experience' that is happening all around you every day (time is so
condensed for young children so it is happening all the time) so that you
can support the self-creation beings who are able to "have an experience''?

Like with Greg's students, as a preschool teacher you find that what is
most important is to describe what is happening in a way that is true to
the children's experiences. Vivian Paley shows us how to do this.  If you
don;t do this you find dealing with the Golem who has had the words that
give it life removed from its mouth: you just have dirt, nothing even
remotely related to the Golem, not even weight.

I think it is the teacher/artists who can find for us those properties that
will characterize the experience as a whole.  What Monica named 'preschool
didactics from within' is a process of working with these people in
research. This sounds like 5D.

Andy, Vygotsky is talking about the the two purposes of art criticism.  One
is entirely in the domain of social life, he says, guiding what art creates
in its audience in useful directions.  The other is to 'conserve the effect
of art as art'.  He says we know this is needed, because art is a unity,
and without the whole criticism is not related to art -- he calls what we
have left, without the unity, a wound.  But criticism of art treats art as
a parliamentary speech -- often -- he says.  Vygtosky shows how to avoid
this in the chapter on Bunin's short story.

As a preschool teacher you know that art is life because if you forget this
then you have unhappy children and your job is impossible, or worse.  As an
researcher, every time you hit something hard you can revert to the first
purpose of art/life criticism, or anyhow to the part that does not conserve
the effect, without any consequences on your livelihood.  If we could have
a system of science that makes it impossible to leave the hardest questions
to the first purpose of criticism, then we could have so many people
working on these hardest questions in a meaningful way, but I do not know
how to do this even in my own work.

Except one way is to place the desires of the teachers and children before
your own.  This is sort of a method of love or empathy.  Kiyo suggested The
Method of Hope by Miyazaki (no relation I think) and this is related, also
Edith Turner's work where she sees the reality that the people she is
studying see.

Maybe it is a method of perezhivanie.


On Fri, Jul 17, 2015 at 1:58 PM, Alfredo Jornet Gil <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>

Mike, could you elaborate on that?

From: xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
<xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of
mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu>
Sent: 17 July 2015 19:40
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Having an experience


a "method of organization" seems close to a synonym for design.


On Fri, Jul 17, 2015 at 9:42 AM, Alfredo Jornet Gil <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>

I like very much how Greg brings in a methodological issue here with his
mention about ethnography and his reading of "fidelity"; that the latter
not about representing exactly, but about describing events in terms of
consequences for the participants, which they display for each other in
their actual practice.

This methodological aspect makes me think that the the notion of ANALYSIS
BY UNITS, which has been discussed in xmca before, is useful here. Unit
analysis reminds us that, as units, experiences, as concrete and real
phenomena, have some form of organization that extends in time. That is
why, if I understood the discussion below correctly, Beth is warned not
think of the unit of experience as a unit "in itself".

Dewey and Bentley 1949 made the differentiation between self-action and
transaction. In self action, things are explained by their own powers.
is, I believe, what Vygotsky would have referred to as analysis by
elements. In transaction, they say, “deal[s] with aspects and phases of
action, without final attribution to ‘elements’ or other presumptively
detachable ‘entities,’ ‘essences,’ or ‘realities,’ and without isolation
presumptively detachable ‘relations’ from such detachable ‘elements’”. An
experience can be studied precisely because it is not a thing in itself:
is always a moving, gesture, a "method of organization" as Dewey &

I thought this my add something to your fascinating discussion,

From: xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
<xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of
mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu>
Sent: 17 July 2015 18:23
To: Andy Blunden; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Having an experience

Marx: It is only in a social context that subjectivism and objectivism,
spiritualism and materialism, activity and passivity, cease to be
antinomies and thus cease to exist as such antinomies. The resolution of
the theoretical contradictions is possible only through practical means,
only through the practical energy of man. Their resolution is not by any
means, therefore, only a problem of knowledge, but is a real problem of
life which philosophy was unable to solve precisely because it saw there
purely theoretical problem."

On Thu, Jul 16, 2015 at 10:45 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
No, no, Beth. As Dewey says:

    "This unity is neither emotional, practical, nor
    intellectual, for these terms name distinctions that
    reflection can make within it. In discourse//about//an
    experience, we must make use of these adjectives of
    interpretation. In going over an experience in
    mind//after/ /its occurrence, we may find that one
    property rather than another was sufficiently dominant
    so that it characterizes the experience as a whole."

Isn't this beautiful scientific prose! We make these distinction when
*reflect* on an experience. And perhaps we include the experience in
autobiography, act it out on the stage, analyse it scientifically, all
which presupposes analysis and synthesis. But it is important to
that the unity is prior. It is not only a unity of emotion and
(for example) but also of attention and will - and any other categories
abstract from an experience.

*Andy Blunden*
On 17/07/2015 3:00 PM, Beth Ferholt wrote:

Or reproducing the part that represents the whole? Like a fractal? I
think it is the similarity across scales that makes an experience
proleptic, or gives that 'bliss conferred at the beginning of the road
redemption" that Vasilyuk refers to.  You have an experience on
timescales and so a sense of deja-vu is central to having an
This is what I am thinking about after reading both the paper of
and your recent piece on perezhivanie, Andy, although I am picking up
on a
small piece of the last email in this chain -- : If something is only
itself in its whole then you can't study it, is what is bothering me.
On Thu, Jul 16, 2015 at 11:22 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
<mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

     Not "getting at something", Michael. Just pursuing
     this question you raised about Dewey's saying that the
     aesthetic quality of medieval buildings arises from
     their not being "planned" like buildings are nowadays.
     He goes on to say "Every work of art follows the plan
     of, and pattern of, a complete experience." The puzzle
     he is raising here is the completeness of an
     experience which gives it its aesthetic quality, and
     this cannot be created by assembling together parts in
     the way a modern building is planned. An experience -
     the kind of thing which sticks in your mind - is an
     original or prior unity, not a combination, and this
     is what gives a work of art that ineffable quality,
     something which can only be transmitted by reproducing
     that whole of an experience.

     *Andy Blunden*
     On 17/07/2015 2:32 AM, Glassman, Michael wrote:


         I'm still not sure about your question.  Did I set
         out to have that experience, that morning...no, I
         don't think so (it was a long time ago, but I'm
         pretty sure no).  Could I have just treated it as
         an indiscriminate activity, probably, I had done
         so before.

         But I am guessing you're getting a something here


         -----Original Message-----
         xmca-l-bounces+glassman.13=osu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu <mailto:
         <mailto:osu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu>] On Behalf Of
         Andy Blunden
         Sent: Thursday, July 16, 2015 12:21 PM
         To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
         Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Having an experience

         YOu said: "... But that time I had the experience
         with the paintings..."

         I mean that was an experience. Did you set out
         that morning to have that experience?
         RE, your question: "what does he mean when he says
         you can't do things indiscriminately and have
         vital experience, but you also can't plan things?"

         *Andy Blunden*
         On 17/07/2015 2:09 AM, Glassman, Michael wrote:

             Well I'm not sure I understand your question
             Andy, but perhaps it has
             something to do with my grandfather's favorite
             saying (translated from

             Man plans, God laughs.


             -----Original Message-----
             On Behalf Of Andy Blunden
             Sent: Thursday, July 16, 2015 12:04 PM
             To: xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
             Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Having an experience

             So Michael, there was just that one occasion,
             in all your museum-going, when you had an
             experience. Was that planned?
             (I don't mean to say you haven't had a number
             of such experiences,
             Michael ... just some number actually)


             *Andy Blunden*

             On 17/07/2015 1:19 AM, Glassman, Michael wrote:

                 Hi Larry and all,

                 I think this is one of the most complex
                 aspects of experience, what does he mean
                 when he says you can't do things
                 indiscriminately and have vital
                 experience, but you also can't plan
                 things?  I have discussed (argued) about
                 this a lot with my students.  I have
                 especially seen him raise this point in at
                 least two of his great works, Democracy
                 and Education and Experience and Nature -
                 and again of course in Art as Experience
                 (notice he is not saying how Art enters
                 into experience but how art is experience
                 - I have come to notice these little
                 things more and more in his writing).

                 The difficulty we have, at least in the
                 United States because of the dominance of
                 the idea of meta-cognition, is that we too
                 often translate what individuals are
                 bringing in to experience to organize it
                 as a form of meta-cognition.  It is kind
                 of possible to make that interpretation
                 from Democracy and Education, although
                 what I think he is doing more is arguing
                 against misinterpretations of his work as
                 random, child centered activities.  I
                 think he is clearer in Experience and
                 Nature that we bring in who we are at the
                 moment into the activity, and use who we
                 are (I don't want to say identity) as an
                 organizing principle for what we do.  It
                 is perhaps one of the places where Dewey
                 and Vygotsky are close.  Perhaps I can use
                 the same Jackson Pollock example.  The
                 first few times I saw his paintings I was
                 trying to "apprecitate" them because I was
                 told that was the best way to experience
                 them.  Dewey says no vital experience
                 there because my activities become stilted
                 and artificia
                     l.  Sometimes I went through the
                 museum and just looked at pictures, one to
                 the other.  No vital experience there,
                 just random threads. But that time I had
                 the experience with the paintings I was
                 allowing who I was, what had been built up
                 in the trajectory of my life to enter into
                 my experience with the painting, making it
                 a vital experience.  I think Dewey makes
                 the argument in Experience and Nature that
                 it is not just the experience the moment
                 before, but the experiences leading to
                 that experience, the context of my life,
                 of my parent's life, of a long line of
                 historical experiences.

                 Anyway, my take.



Beth Ferholt
Assistant Professor
Department of Early Childhood and Art Education
Brooklyn College, City University of New York
2900 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11210-2889

Email: bferholt@brooklyn.cuny.edu <mailto:bferholt@brooklyn.cuny.edu>
Phone: (718) 951-5205 <tel:%28718%29%20951-5205>
Fax: (718) 951-4816 <tel:%28718%29%20951-4816>


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Both environment and species change in the course of time, and thus
ecological niches are not stable and given forever (Polotova & Storch,
Ecological Niche, 2008)